Builder goes bust: Homeowner loses out

BLAIR ENSOR AND CECILE MEIER
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2014
Erica McLachlan
STACY SQUIRES/ Fairfax NZ

LEFT IN THE LURCH: Erica McLachlan, who owns a property in Storer St in the Silverstream sub division Kaiapoi, says contractors have taken building materials away from the site and out of the house.

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A Canterbury homeowner has been left hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket after a Christchurch firm seemingly went bust while building her house.

At least three other homeowners have also lost their deposit to the company, and several subcontractors were never paid for their work.

Erica McLachlan paid developer and builder Tectonic more than $220,000 in advances for a land and house package in Kaiapoi's Silverstream development. However, construction of the house stalled earlier this year before the painting, carpeting, cladding, plumbing and electricity work was complete.

Silverstream Estate said it was never paid for the land, and a former Tectonic Construction employee confirmed almost none of the subbies were paid.

"I just can't believe this whole thing is happening. It's like a bad, bad dream," McLachlan said.

The house was her first investment and sole retirement plan.

"It's taken a lot of hard work to obtain the money I've just lost."

Tectonic's sole director Steve Hicks could not be reached for comment.

Levi Davey, a former director of the company and a 33 per cent shareholder, said he had lost everything. "I financed this company myself . . . I've lost literally everything I had, down to the last little cent."

His brother, Asher Davey, who is a 33 per cent shareholder in the company, said he had had limited involvement in the company and had been kept in the dark.

"I know that it [the company] has gone bust or turned to s..., but I don't know how."

The Daveys said Hicks had removed $40,000 from the company's capital account in May and had later taken the company over.

Levi Davey said the company would have to go into liquidation unless Hicks could turn it around.

When asked what happened to McLachlan's deposit, Levi said it had been spent appropriately.

However, McLachlan said Levi "pestered" her to pay the money to buy the land - $150,000 - in March.

She had already paid a 20 per cent deposit at the end of last year.

Silverstream Estate developer Fred Rahme said Tectonic had been "really naughty" to take the money for land they did not own.

"She [McLachlan] didn't know better, the poor thing, but she should only have given money in exchange of the title," he said.

Silverstream had been chasing Tectonic for payment of a deposit for the land over several months, he said.

A former Tectonic employee, who did not want to be named, said at least three other homeowners had lost their deposits in deals with the company, and several subcontractors were never paid for their work.

Millbrook Kitchens owner Poppy Silcock said the company received an anonymous warning this month about Tectonic not paying their bills. The company removed a kitchen it had delivered to a home in Silverstream.

McLachlan said subbies were now coming back to the house to get back as much material as they could, stripping the house of its front door and making it insecure.

"How dare they come into my property and trespass? It infuriates me," she said.

McLachlan said she would now have to buy the land again, and spend more than $100,000 to complete her house.

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The Daveys and Hicks needed to be stopped so that nobody else ended up in the same situation.

- The Press

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